Anyone using a barndoor tracker that they made?

Started Oct 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
RustierOne Veteran Member • Posts: 3,997
Re: Anyone using a barndoor tracker that they made?

VirtualMirage wrote:


I am starting to dabble in astrophotography and have been looking at ways to minimize or prevent star trailing all without paying an arm and a leg.

Doing my research I have found many variations of a barn door tracker (or scotch mount) that people have built.  While their articles are all full of detail, it seems each one either intentionally or unintentionally leaves out a piece of the puzzle on completing a build yourself.  This, to me, prevents me from calling it an actual How-To.

I have since found these missing pieces by getting a little info here and there and putting it all together.  I have even acquired most of the materials I will be needing to build one.

My initial idea was to build a two arm barn door tracker (either a type 3 or 4) for the sake of having an accurate tracker.  But then I saw the single arm version using a curved threaded rod that is supposed to resolve the design flaw in the original single arm tracker and it's tangent threaded rod.

I guess my questions are:

  1. Is the curved rod single arm tracker just as accurate (or more so) than a dual arm?
  2. What did you build for yourself and how do you like it?
  3. Any tips or suggestions that can be made based on your experience on how to make the build easier/better?
  4. Any particular materials you recommend?
  5. Lastly, any pictures of your trackers?


Hi VirtualImage,

Most of your questions are answered in the article in this link:

But here are some specific answers to your questions:

  1. The curved rod design is likely more accurate than other designs since it has no tangent error. It is subject to error in tracking rate due to inaccurate mount dimensions (needed for 1 rpm drive of nut). Also if the rpm isn't exactly 1 rpm, there's also an error in tracking. Other mount types may be subject to these errors as well
  2. I've been very happy with the mount I describe in the article. I used it Saturday night for meteor photography.
  3. The article has all my tips.
  4. I recommend a brass threaded rod for ease of bending. 
  5. Here's a picture of the mount:

Barn-door mount with multimeter to monitor drive voltage

I wish you success in making your own tracker.

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Best Regards,

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